Dangote Cement has assured consumers that it would continually strive to stabilise the price of cement without compromising on quality, so as to create reasonable profit for all categories of stakeholders in the cement and construction value chain.
The Group Executive Director, Sales and Marketing, Knut Ulvemoen, gave the assurance while speaking at a one-day sensitisation workshop in Abuja for block makers in FCT and its environs, organised by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and sponsored by Dangote Cement Plc.
Knut decried the prevalence of substandard blocks and explained that some block makers, in an attempt to maximise profit, ended up not using the right blend of cement and sand; thus causing defects in structures.
He explained that because of the sensitive nation of the construction and building industry, inappropriate mix of all the materials would have negative effect on the structures, noting that this was the major cause of building collapse.
According to him, Dangote Cement does not compromise its product quality and would therefore support all relevant agencies to ensure protection from poor quality blocks, adding that the company has the highest quality anywhere in the world.
He assured the block makers not to succumb to the urge to reduce the quantity of cement in their mix for blocks with the hope of saving more money, pointing out that whoever buys less quality blocks would not patronise makers of such blocks at another time.
In his paper, Director General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, who was represented by the Regional Coordinator of SON, Mr. Nelson Adebiyi, said the federal government’s transformation agenda, coupled with the SON’s policy of zero tolerance to substandard products, underlined the need to sensitise block molders to operate in conformity with the national standard.
He said the benchmark for fair competition is standard, which takes into account the customers’ satisfaction. According to him, “the organisation has elaborated standards to ensure quality in block molding and promote safety in our building sector and also to ensure that block moulders operate to the international standard.”
He highlighted the standards and codes elaborated by the SON as standard for Sancrete blocks part one non-load bearing; standard for precast concrete, pavement blocks and standards for pre-stressed and reinforced concrete poles for transmission and distribution lines.
Odumodu commended Dangote Cement for its interest in supporting efforts geared towards ensuring quality in the building industry, noting that the company’s readiness to sponsor the workshop was a demonstration of this.
Also making a presentation on the causes and remedies for sub-standard sancrete blocks, a Dangote staff member, Johnson Olaniyi, said the issue of substandard sancrete blocks should be of concern to all and sundry and should be discouraged in the interest of all.
He said visitation to locations where blocks are moulded revealed a lot of challenges facing the block makers, which he said contributed in a large extent to the quality of blocks produced.
Olaniyi identified lack of functional tools; operational expenses; lack of basic technical knowledge; lack of basic raw material and lack of adequate training, and said some of these and a combination of some generate a situation where production of sub-standard blocks is seen as an attractive option.
The Dangote official noted that some block makers resorted to the use of just any sand because the required quality of sand is not only expensive but not readily available in some locations.
According to him, “most block makers could not take the pain of getting their sand from the right source; they lack consistency in the mixing of multiple sand, even with their poor selection of the multiple sand in the right proportion.
“More often, most people believe that block making does not require additional technical knowledge. This has been proven wrong over the years. To this end, mixing sand, cement and water do not conform to with the laid down principles of three wet before feeding vibrating machine with mortar.”
Olaniyi said it was in recognition of this that Dangote Cement organises periodic technical training for willing block makers. He also enlightened the block makers on how to handle cements to get the best results.
The block makers commended the company for sponsoring the workshop and called on other cement manufacturers to emulate the good gestures and help them to do well in their business.